Shigure Sohma

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Shigure Sohma
Fruits Basket character
Created by Natsuki Takaya
Voiced by Ryōtarō Okiayu (Japanese)
John Burgmeier (English)
Profile
Zodiac spirit Dog

Shigure Sohma (草摩 紫呉 Sōma Shigure?) is a fictional character in the manga and anime series Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya. He transforms into the Dog of the Chinese zodiac whenever he is hugged by the opposite gender or his body comes under a great deal of stress. Shigure is one of the oldest members of the zodiac.

Shigure repeatedly uses his favorite phrase "Que será, será" meaning "Whatever will be, will be" in Spanish. According to the anime, when he turns into a Dog, he's revealed to have black fur.

Creation and conception[edit]

Natsuki Takaya derived Shigure's name from the tenth month, which is the month of the Dog, of the former Japanese lunar calendar, Shigurezuki, or "Autumn showers month".[1]

Natsuki Takaya said about Shigure in the final book: If you were to say he's a problem child, you'd be right. He doesn't have the emotions of characters I usually draw. That was what I always intended, but as I continued to draw him,I got the feeling that he was growing really superficial.

Character outline[edit]

Personality and background[edit]

Shigure is laid-back and anything but solemn and according to the first episode, he says that he's a nonviolent peacemaker. He is a flirt, a tease, and often acts like a pervert. Akito once remarked, "I thought you'd sleep with any woman." He likes to tease Tohru by asking her for dates and often says he likes high school girls. Shigure is a writer of both romance novels and academic books. He loves to drive his editor, Mitchan, insane by disappearing whenever she comes to pick up his draft or pretending to not have written anything. His most famous and well-known pen name is Kiritani Noa (western order, Noa Kiritani), which he usually uses for his romance novels such as Summer-Colored Sigh, which he showed to Saki Hanajima, Arisa Uotani and Kyo Sohma. They give very different reactions: Hanajima asks if a sequel will be coming out, while Uotani says it is unacceptable to write that 'smut' and Kyo comments that it's sick. Tohru thinks it's amazing that she knows an author.

Shigure's best friends are Hatori Sohma and Ayame Sohma. The trio, nicknamed the Mabudachi Trio, have been friends since their childhood. While Ayame and Shigure get along very well, it's less certain how Hatori, who is always exasperated with them, became their friend. On the other hand, Shigure appears to have a close friendship with Hatori as it is always Hatori Shigure confides the inner workings of his mind.

It is revealed in the manga that, although he does feel brotherly affection for her, Shigure is actually using Tohru Honda to break the Sohma curse. This is not true in the anime, which deviates from the original manga's plot after a certain point. Shigure is normally seen in a traditional kimono. Occasionally, when he does business, he wears western style clothing (suits).

Occasionally, Shigure shows another side of his character. He can be surprisingly mature and thoughtful, giving rather sage an insightful advice to Tohru, Kyo, Yuki, and other characters. In the manga, and less noticeably in the anime, he is also shown to be dark-humored and manipulative; he claims that he would (and does) use anyone and anything in order to reach his goal. For example, in Chapter 59, Akito comes to the summer house Tohru and the Sohmas were at in order to test how far the bond had broken despite the inevitable mental damage Yuki and the other Sohmas underwent as a result.

In the manga, Shigure's relationship with Akito is twisted and complicated. The day Akito was conceived, the already born Sohmas had a dream heralding her arrival and perhaps imparting knowledge of their reincarnations and new roles. While the dream left sad, bittersweet memories for the other Juunichi, Shigure felt only love. This love for Akito stays with him for the rest of his life and is the main driving force of all of his actions. Shigure speculates that, in a way, he is the most affected by the Sohma curse as his obsessive love for Akito is a direct result of the bond between them.[2] There is a constant push and pull between the two throughout the manga. While Shigure tries to break the curse in part to stand on equal ground with Akito and in part to break her ties with the other Juunishi, Akito hangs on by her fingernails to the bond. When, in an act of desperation, Akito slept with Kureno, Shigure bit back by sleeping with Akito's mother, causing him to be thrown out of the main house.

Although Shigure readily admits his love, he is often very cold towards Akito. He confesses to Hatori that the reason he acts this way is because he "doesn't want to be her father", which implies that Shigure felt that Akito was projecting her late father on to him, as Shigure was initially very gentle and kind with her (Yuki remembers witnessing Shigure comforting a crying Akito as a child). There is also a moment much later in the series during a conversation with Kureno where Shigure states that he loves Akito to the point he wants to crush her.

Due to his cold, rather distant, evasive nature Shigure is compared a couple times to a jellyfish or a ripple of water; no matter how one tries to touch him, he slides out of reach. An example of this behavior is the flippant manner in which he asked out Mayuko Shiraki—Tohru Honda's and the Sohmas' homeroom teacher for most of the manga—with the given reason of boredom and never intimately touched her during the whole of their one-month relationship. It is later explained that the reason for his wandering was to control his insecurity regarding Akito, who, as "God", often lavished attention on the other male Juunishi. In other words, Mayuko Shiraki was meant to be a distraction. This may be the reason for his "perverted" persona.[3]

As for Kureno Sohma, Shigure initially got along well with him and in an extra, we see that Kureno looked up to and followed Shigure around when they were children. During the events of the manga, however, Shigure held deep amounts of resentment for Kureno for sleeping with and having a continuous relationship with Akito and is of the opinion that had Kureno left Akito when his curse broke instead of staying it would have been much healthier for her.

Shigure lives on the "outside" of the Sohma house in a large home with Kyo, Yuki, and Tohru. In the house, he normally walks around bare-footed while everyone else wears socks. His reason for doing so is that it's his house.

Reception[edit]

Shigure has been cited by reviewers as a key part of the success of the series, helping balance the lighter and darker aspects of the story[4] by adding comic relief.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2008-08-08). Fruits Basket, Volume 14. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-59532-409-2. 
  2. ^ Vol. 3 Ch. 16
  3. ^ Vol. 23 Ch. 132
  4. ^ Reiter, Joseph (2007-12-17). "Fruits Basket - The Complete Collection DVD Review". Retrieved 2008-04-17. "He is a ball of laughs and adds greatly to the overall feel of the series. I can honestly say that without the addition of Shigure's character Fruits Basket would not be as strong." 
  5. ^ RPL. "Anime Reviews: Fruits Basket". UK Anime Net. Retrieved 2008-04-18. "Shigure, the quiet writer who turns into a Dog is probably the coolest character simply due to the fact that he's a very subtle perv ... he gets a nice share of the best one-liners too."